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OCR for page 64
8 Rapid Postearthquake Loss Estimates In establishing the scope of this panel's study, FEMA cited the potential value of being able to estimate losses quickly after an actual earthquake, as a basis for planning disaster response and financial as- sistance. The pane} was specifically asked whether cruder techniques of rapid loss estimation knight be developed for this purpose. An early study by AIgerrmssen (1978) was inspired by this desire for a technique to evaluate earthquake losses rapidly. It resulted In a method for estunating earthquake losses that was much the same as the NOAA-USGS method discussed in this report, and it Fumed that the inventory was reasonably up-to-date. The inventory and other information assembled for any loss es- timate may be used very quickly once the magnitude and location of an earthquake are established, prov'`ed the inventory is current, the computer software is current, and the computer is operating arid available. If this approach were to be tried, the data bank and com- puter software must be maintained in an active condition outside ah potentially affected areas. In addition, the crudeness of loss estimates based on the best of today's technology must be kept in mind. Reports from the affected area based on field reconnaissance usually will provide a more accurate picture of the extent of losses 64

OCR for page 64
tab the best of theoretic loss estate c~cul~lons] ad obviously this w1D be even more true For the cruder estlm~lon tenses. Tbe panel recommends that 1~ priorly be given to developlug approves tab rely on pr~ect~ns rather than on Beld reconn~s- s~ce ad actual dodge reports aver e~tbqu~es. 65